Russia in the spotlight during Stockholm Pride

Anastasia Smirnova from the LGBT Network. Photo: Ninke LiebertDuring Stockholm Pride we invited Anastasia Smirnova from our partner the Russian LGBT Network in St Petersburg. Anastasia Smirnova was interviewed in Swedish media about the negative development för lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender peoples rights in Russia and she also raised the topic in a seminar.

Eight regions in Russia have now adopted laws prohibiting ”propaganda” for homosexuality. Discussions about adopting a similar law are being held on a national level. Civil Rights Defenders have, together with, among others, the Russian LGBT network worked against these laws which are not only violating LGBT peoples’ rights but also violates the right to freedom of expression and assembly on a general level.

To the Stockholm Pride 2012, which took place between 31 July and 4 August, we invited Anastasia Smirnova from the Russian LGBT Network, in order to direct some of the spotlights towards the negative development in Russia. Anastasia Smirnova was interviewed by Swedish media and she also participated, as the only international guest, in a seminar about the situation for LGBT people in Eastern Europe.

In the seminar Anastasia Smirnova talked about how these laws affect LGBT people in their daily life and how they might come to harm civil society. She said that homosexual mothers are concerned about how the laws may come to be used in order to take away their custody rights and that organisations which have been convicted of breaking the laws are sentenced to heavy fines that they cannot support their own activities financially. In connection to this Anastasia Smirnova mentioned the latest law amendment which will further obstruct the work of civil society activists in Russia – according to this law NGOs (non governmental organisations) that receive funding from abroad will be branded as “foreign agents”. President Vladimir Putin signed the law on the 21st of July.

Just after the ”propaganda”-law had been adopted in St Petersburg’s local parliament Anastasia Smirnova and Alexandra Semenova, from our partner Coming Out, participated in a seminar in our series: One Hour of Human Rights.

View the broadcast in our Bambuser channel: Propaganda laws strangles gay activism (25 May 2012)

Categories: Achievements.
Tags: Freedom of assembly, Freedom of expression, and Russian LGBT Network.
Regions: Russia and Sweden.